Have you ever noticed that all of your friends are an eerie reflection of how you see yourself? Have you ever considered what a strange concept a bathroom scale is? Have you ever had the incredible urge to drop your entire life, go off the grid and live the rest of your days cutting wood for heat and growing your own food? Have you ever thought about suicide in a non-morbid way, but more as a true, genuine consideration of why not? Have you ever tried to explain the concept of your Ego Self to someone and get accused of having Multiple Personality Disorder?
Spirituality isn’t all that fun sometimes. Sometimes it’s downright depressing. Not depressing in a no one likes me, my job sucks, I just got dumped waa waa kind of way. It’s a deeper, all encompassing kind of depression. Going on a spiritual path is a choice. It’s a choice that I’ve made. This choice makes me realize things on a daily basis; little things and really big things. This choice makes who I thought I was crumble, and who I am now better. This choice has ripped, and is ripping my life apart, for better and worse. Well, always for better, but some of it feels worse. That’s my ego. Silly ego–trying to protect itself against destruction. Well it’s not going to get any sympathy, and I’ve had enough of its bullshit. Waa I want to live and be happy and have an easy life, waa.
So here are these blissed out, tea-worshiping baldheaded duded chanting OM. Hey I can do that and be all happy and stuff. Right? Right?! Piece of tasty cake. I got this. I was made for this. I can do this. I bet I can pull off some insta-lightenment and brag to all my friends. Check out my enlightenment yo! Jealous? Just meditate and shit.
Yeaaaaaaah. Not really how it goes. We all gotta figure that one out for ourselves. We can read it over and over again. “This is hard work” “most people don’t make it” “you have to be willing to give up A LOT” Your world as you know it will crumble” “This is hard” “No really, it’s HARD” “I am telling you THIS SHIT IS HARD.” Sure sure, you say. Enlightenment is a decision right? A choice, right? It’s always there, we just have to remember it, right? Well then. Ahem. I DECIDE TO BE ENLIGHTENED, you proudly declare.
You might feel pretty shnazzy and zeny for the rest of the day, but just wait until you’re tired, or you’re irritated, or some bitch cuts you off in traffic. Everything goes back to how it was, your mind falls back into its perfectly formed Hole of Old Ways. That’s why I can’t say I am Buddhist. That’s why I can’t say I meditate. I practice Buddhism.
I practice meditation. I’m growing the enlightenment muscle. Sometimes really cool shit happens like epiphanies and mindgasms and realizing how godly I am. (Seriously.) But then sometimes I find my mind is simultaneously being squeezed like a stress ball and pulled to far corners of the Earth (China, is that you?) and I wonder what in the hell I’ve gotten myself into.
So the other night, I watched Inception. It wasn’t my first viewing, but it was my first viewing where I actually paid attention and/or didn’t fall asleep. My mind was in prime mode for brain explosion–and that’s exactly what I got. Brain goo all over the walls, my roommate, the cat. I drooled all over the couch until about 3 O’clock in the morning. My roommate laughed in my general direction as I squeezed my head and said things like “OH MY GOD” “THIS IS SO CRAZY” “I CAN’T BELIEVE THIS” after pretty much every line. My whole body was on fire. My whole being and every cell in it that responds to things that are true was tingling and dancing their little happy-dances. WE ARE A DREAM. THIS IS ALL A DREAM. ONE LITTLE PERSPECTIVE OF THE SAME DREAM!! WE CREATE EVERYTHING AND EVERYONE AROUND US. NO DIFFERENCE BETWEEN DREAMS AND REALITY! NONE!!! I was floored. I have heard and felt this very same idea many times before, but things like this don’t just stick around. They fade away, and you forget again until they come back and remind you. Practice practice practice.
So there I was basking in the glow of my renewed god-status and super stoked, downright giddy. At one point the movie even dynamited the door to the Koan I had been working on for months. (Two hands clap and there is a sound. What is the sound of one hand?) FACE PALM! I totally get it! So there I was, Ready to create my dream and be really awesome to people and manifest things and stuff. What’s there to worry about? Nothing to fear. We get lots of re-dos and this is just the universe playing out as itself and as long as our mind is calm, our life is calm and I just have to stay mindful and love everyone and flow along with it all and woooooo I’m soooo haaaaaaaaapppppyyy.
Then the next morning came around. What the hell was I so damn happy about? This is a never ending circle from which we can never escape. It’s all just a pointless dream. There is no real meaning, no real purpose to any of it as a whole. Shoot me in the face now please. But then again, don’t even worry about it, because where will that get me? Probably at the beginning of another part of the dream, a part I am not going to remember anyways. I watched the movie again. It lost all its magic. Just a big blockbuster about dreaming with lots of cool effects and pretty men in suits.
I had to work late that evening. A new job, a new cafe. My last day of training. I had to apologize to my new co-worker for being such a downer. I say to him,
“I’m sorry for being such a downer. It’s not this place, it’s just the state of mind I’m coming from right now.”
He goes “Are you okay, did something crazy happen?”
I laugh. What other reaction could I possibly muster to that question?
“No. Well…no. That would be like an hour long conversation,” I reply. And leave it at that.
What the hell kind of answer can one give to something like this? How about “BACK OFF, I’M SPIRITUAL AND I FEEL THINGS!” Yeah. That will do. See you at the asylum.
The cup can be filled with strawberry pudding, or it can be filled with Kangaroo dung. But in the end, it’s just a cup, filled with some stuff.
It’s all about the middle, baby.